U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– On July 6, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed SB 7196 into law. The law is specifically designed to overrule the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
On December 16, 2021, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and 14 additional plaintiffs (including, I am glad to say, a local gun store, Sprague’s of Yuma, Arizona) sued the Attorney General of New York, Letitia James, to stop implementation of the law, designed to violate the Constitutional rights of all Americans. From the lawsuit:
1. This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a New York statute that was enacted with the express purpose of overruling the judgment of Congress by expanding New York tort law to regulate the conduct of tens of thousands of businesses operating in every state, regardless of whether those businesses fully comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws in their home jurisdictions.
2. New York and its political subdivisions have sought for years to impose civil liability on manufacturers and sellers of firearms and ammunition (“Firearm Industry Members”) for criminal or unlawful misuse of their products by third parties in New York—even when those products were lawfully manufactured and sold out of state.
Letitia James doesn’t even pretend the law is not about overturning federal law. Here is the public statement by New York Attorney General Letitia James:
“In 2005, Congress took unprecedented action to usurp states’ rights and give gun manufacturers and distributors blanket immunity for gun violence perpetrated as a direct result of their marketing and distribution of firearms. Plain and simple, this was federal overreach to protect the gun industry in every way possible. But, today, New York state took an important step to right that wrong and protect its citizens from gun violence. As the state’s attorney and chief law enforcement officer, I look forward to enforcing the Public Nuisance law and I stand ready to defend it against all legal challenges. Thank you to Senator Myrie and Assembly member Fahy for sponsoring this bill, Governor Cuomo for signing it into law, and the many advocates for their role in crafting this mechanism for New York state to protect its own residents.”
Much of what James has in her statement is not true.
Firearm manufacturers were protected because they were under direct, provable, impossible to ignore threats by totalitarians such as James. James seems to want to return to antebellum days, before the Fourteenth Amendment, when states were allowed to violate the Bill of Rights at whim. That issue was settled by the War between the States, or the Civil War, whichever nomenclature you prefer. The purpose of the frivolous lawsuits levied against manufacturers was openly admitted as the bankruptcy of the manufacturers.
The PLCAA did not go nearly far enough. The protection should have extended to all manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, not just to firearm manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Just as Colt should never be held responsible for a criminal robbing a bank with a Colt-made pistol or rifle, Ford should not be held responsible for a criminal robbing a bank because the robbery was facilitated by a Ford car or truck. Trek should not be bankrupted because a rapist used a Trek bicycle to facilitate a rape.
The theory that manufacturers can be held responsible for the action of criminals, which they have no control over, is insanity.
There is one end to the proliferation of such nonsense: government control over all the means of production and distribution. The myth Letitia James uses to justify her actions is that more guns result in more illegitimate violence. Violence is not evil in itself. Violence is neutral, like gravity. Violence is and can be used for both good and evil.
The idea that guns result in more illegitimate violence sounds plausible until you examine the data. More guns do not result in more illegitimate violence. They often result in less. When you look at the overall number, there is little difference in the population at large. Removing guns may result in smaller numbers of homicides with guns. It may result in smaller numbers of suicides with guns. It does not result in smaller numbers of overall suicides or homicides.
It limits individual freedom to choose and to expand individual autonomy.
This may be why power broker politicians such as Letitia James like the idea of keeping people from having guns.
It limits individual freedom to choose. It limits the ability to expand individual autonomy.
To those on the Left, those are features, not bugs.
The ability to make gun owners into lawbreakers likely appeals to the Left more than the ability to reduce illegitimate violence. The obvious restriction of state power demonstrated by the Second Amendment has long been despised by the Left, particularly by Progressives.
In the United States, the ability to restrict access to guns is limited by the United States Constitution, the structure of federalism, State Constitutions, the judicial system, and 100+million gun owners with 480 million guns.
Gun owners are more reliable voters than are non-gun owners.
The lawsuit by NSSF and 14 others has a reasonable chance of success.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.